Surgical Technology hybrid learning underway at TSTC

Surgical technology is a rapidly growing field that is expected to rise in demand through at least 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This well-paying career entails getting front and center in an operating room to help a surgeon with necessities such as cutting sutures, transporting patients and keeping track of equipment in the operating room.

Program director Anna San Pedro discussed the Surgical Technology program offered at Texas State Technical College, as well as some of the new virtual implementations that have been added to comply with TSTC’s COVID-19 safety regulations.

“We are currently offering all our didactic instruction in an online format utilizing Webex for synchronous instruction,” she said. “The majority of the lab instruction is done face to face in our lab. However, we are experimenting with doing some virtual labs to see how well students can adapt to learning online versus traditional face-to-face skills training.”

The new methods of learning take time to get used to.

“Like anything that is new, it takes time to adjust,” she said. “Nevertheless, I am pleasantly surprised with how well students and faculty are adapting to the change and the use of technology.”

San Pedro noted that the new format has allowed for more flexibility for students who have other responsibilities outside of school.

“By moving to a hybrid format, students have greater flexibility in their schedule,” she said. “This has been helpful especially to students who live in the upper valley, and for students who work or have family commitments.”

Even though students participate in virtual labs remotely, the quality of curriculum is not diminished.

“Our virtual labs introduce various skills through online demonstrations and video resources,” she said. “This is followed with face-to-face labs, where the students demonstrate and practice these skills under strict safety guidelines.”

Taryn Crow, who recently received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology, raved about the support system in the program.

“My instructors were very helpful in every way possible,” she said. “When you know you want to study something specific and are given a whole layout designed to show you exactly what you need to take to get there, it’s life-changing. TSTC has incredible resources to help guide and aid you through your time in college so that you are better prepared to take on the world.”

TSTC’s Surgical Technology program accepts 30 students every year in the fall semester. To learn more, visit https://www.tstc.edu/programs/SurgicalTechnology.